April 1, 2013 by kittynh
I’m a skeptic. I like to believe in rational things, though like all skeptics I have
my “blind spots”. Still, overall I like to use critical thinking whenever possible in my life. Around the school where I worked I became known as the “killjoy”.
I do not believe in astrology, I would explain how it’s not even based on how the
stars are in the sky now. I would refuse to give homeopathic medications to students (it’s usually very complicated and dependent on exact timing, I would tell parents they would need to come in from work if their child needed their medication at 11:28 exactly, and also 12.57 and 2:23). I talked to students about how Friday the 13th was not really unlucky, and we’d have a “black cat party” at lunchtime to “celebrate” a day that was no more unlucky than any other.
I worked at the front office sometimes subbing when the receptionist was out. One day I answered the phone to find the head of school’s sister on the phone. She wanted to speak to her brother, but I was “Oh I’m sorry he’s out.” She sounded upset, so I asked if there was anything I could do. She assured me no, but that she was just worried as she was sure I was about the big operation his wife was having soon. I was stumped. My boss had said nothing to me, only that he was taking the next week off.
I was stunned, and did not say anything. At this point the sister gave me a detailed description of the surgery. It would involved removal of a tumor and testing, it was also very invasive. She was one of those very friendly people that can not keep a secret. We’d met before, so I was used to this from her. I was quite upset. She told me she would call back later to tell her brother when her flight was, as she was coming to help take care of his children.
I did not ask anyone else if they knew. I figured if I was supposed to know my boss would have told me. Still, I really liked his wife, a dance teacher, and knew this must be a very upsetting time for her. I felt like I had to do something.
Instead of just ignoring the information, I went to a florist on the way home from work. I ordered flowers. I decided to write on the card that I was one of her past students and just was passing through town when on a whim I was sending her flowers along with thanks for what an inspiration she had been to me. I didn’t sign it. I then told the florist not to tell anything about me if anyone called. It’s a small town, we all know each other, and the florist agreed.
I guessed that the surgery went well. My boss and his wife never spoke of it for years. I never knew what she made of the flowers, and felt rather silly about it later.
Then one day I was eating with my boss, his wife and some of the other teachers when she told this story. Now, this woman is very “woo”. She loves yoga, but on a mystical level. She loves charms, crystals, prayer flags and fortune telling. She knows I don’t. As she was joking with me she said that “things have happened in my life” that convince her there is something “Spiritual” out there. I laughed and said “Well coincidences happen all the time.” She shook her head at my non believing self and told me a story of something that I could in no way explain.
The story was when she was going in for major surgery. She was very afraid, and had spent the day in meditation. She had refused to let her husband tell anyone about the surgery, as they didn’t want their children to know. The children they felt would be frightened, so they made up a story about going on vacation. ”No one” she stressed “except my husband, myself and my doctor knew about the surgery.” She then explained that there was a knock at the door and flowers were delivered to her from an ex student. She said the flowers were just what she needed, and they came from a student who just happened to be passing through town and felt the need to send them to her.
I felt very uncomfortable. The best I could do was “But didn’t someone come take care of your children? Did she know about the surgery?” The point I was trying to make was blabber mouth sister might have said something. I was tempted to say “I sent those flowers!” The problem was it had been years and years. Her children were all grown up. It would, to her, sound like I was simply trying to score points. Also, did I want to get the sister in trouble? The subject was changed, and I lost my opportunity to speak out. It was as peculiar to me that she had brought it up after all this time, as her getting the flowers to start with was to her.
I hope that one day, when I’m more prepared, I can tell her calmly and clearly “I sent those flowers”. (Since her husband retired I rarely see her except in passing). I know it will make no difference in her belief in the spiritual and the mysterious ways of the cosmos.
If my explanations about astrology, homeopathic medicine dilution and Big Foot, have not made a difference I hardly think “I sent the flowers” will set her on the path to critical thinking. But I would like her to stop telling the story. It was not a coincidence. It was not an “ex student on a whim”. I’m glad it did have an impact on her ability to face what was a difficult time, but I was guilty of deception without thinking of what the result could be to such an impressionable person.
UPDATE! (Since writing this I made of point of looking this woman up and confessing about the flowers!)
So I finally confessed to what I had done. She was upset, and said “You shouldn’t have told me.” I had taken something “sacred”, and made it normal. She had to need to have this a supernatural happening ,rather than be happy with simple fact she had a caring friend that was worried and wanted to make her happy.
However, she did manage to involve the Universe and some higher power by saying “But how about the odds that you were subbing that day, and that my sister in law told you about my surgery? Those are almost impossible odds. Plus, you felt the need to send me flowers!”
I have to say, the odds of anything happening on any given day can be quite extreme. She had her take on what happened, and I have mine.
- How To Order Flowers With Right Flower Delivery Florist Shops (flowflowers.wordpress.com)
- The Yin-Yang of Flower Deliveries (scribechrismueller.wordpress.com)